Putting Small-Format Supermarkets in The Best Light

 In Supermarket

Across the country, supermarkets are shrinking. Especially common in dense metro areas, smaller format stores are proving to be an effective growth area for the industry. Small-footprint stores like Trader Joe’s and Aldi are continuing their success and large-format chains like Walmart and Target are experimenting with smaller stores.

When a grocery store is small, it’s more critical than ever that the merchandise look nice. There just isn’t as much product to sell, so what is on display needs to shine.

One thing successful small-format stores are doing is delivering a different experience from the traditional grocery store concept. Rather than making a miniature supermarket, smaller concepts do well when they offer an experience rooted in value and simplify the shopper journey.

The formula to both parts of the equation is the right lighting. Good retail lighting moves merchandise and directs shoppers with effective wayfinding. The right lighting will guide customers through the store to the bright fresh and prepared food sections where theatrical lighting puts the spotlight on produce, meat, seafood and prepared foods.

Under the right light, the natural colors of fresh foods are showcased. Color is the language of fresh and the more vivid and bold the color, the fresher it looks. LED lighting with Fresh Color technology is an ideal solution for highlighting produce’s “just-picked” appearance and bringing out the rich marbling in red meats.

Getting the right light on food is crucial to delivering the message of fresh. The key to Fresh Color LED lighting is how it brings out the natural colors in the food without enhancing or changing it in any way.

Fresh foods are one of the main draws for bricks-and-mortar supermarkets as online services compete on dry goods. Acosta’s 2017 “Trip Drivers” report found many shoppers will visit three or more stores to chase down the freshest foods. Winning the fresh foods fight has never been more important for supermarkets.

Enticing customers with delicious-looking fresh food is a cinch with Fresh Color LED lighting, which literally puts merchandise in the best light. Unlike early generation LEDs and outdated light sources like metal halide, halogen and fluorescent lamps, today’s Fresh Color LEDs can make produce look like it was just picked. While older light sources were either too warm and delivered flat colors, today’s LED lighting can be tuned so colors shine under it.

Shopper experience is especially important in small-format stores, putting the wares in the best light. LED lighting also helps people navigate the store and highlights what supermarkets what shoppers to buy.

The key is the contrast ratio—more light on important products than the ambient areas around them draws attention to the merchandise. “The higher the contrast, the more the store is like a theater, where you can’t help but notice the one face on stage that has the spotlight on it,” said Donald Knickerbocker, vice president of supermarket sales at Amerlux.

An evenly lit store doesn’t direct the shoppers’ attention, while modulating the light with bright and dim areas highlights the important areas—like end caps.

“Generally, you want at least three times the light on the target than in the ambient area,” said Knickerbocker. “Some stores don’t even have ambient lighting in their higher margin areas, using lots of accent lighting to highlight products and the light spillover will also illuminate the ambient area. I can’t force shoppers to buy things, but I can make sure they notice them.”

Done well, this kind of lighting positions the supermarket as a high-end retail store and gives the perception of value as well as a deluxe experience.

See how your lighting can bring shoppers in and keep them coming back to your store with Amerlux’s Fresh Color LEDs.

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